Posted by: Alicia Phillips | June 15, 2013

A One Woman Farewell Party

When a Peace Corps Volunteer get’s close to their COS date (Close of Service) Peace Corps lets you choose when you leave as long as it is in a 30 day window. I chose to leave on June 20th, 2 weeks before my original COS date of July 3rd. However, a large majority of my group chose to leave the first possible day allowed, June 3rd.

Group 88

Group 88

This is a very exciting time. Exciting because everyone is off doing exciting things! Quite a few of the volunteers in my group have already gotten jobs back home, some are going back to school, one guy is moving to Italy to study, some are going back to take care of family, but a lot of us are spending a few months travelling, taking the long way home- myself included.

This is also a very sad time. Sad because you are leaving all your friends, some you may see again but most you will not, and leaving behind this life that you’ve built for yourself over the past two years. When I joined the Peace Corps I was expecting to become close with the local population and with my community, I knew that leaving them would be hard when the time came. However, I wasn’t expecting to become so close with the other volunteers in my group.  These past two years were the hardest of my life, I’m sure that was the case for most of us. We all had to trust each other and depend on each other to help get us through some hard times, and that brings you close. I feel like because I lived in a Suva house, that when volunteers came to town to do Peace Corps business, or just to get away from site, they always stayed with us and that is why I was able to get very close to almost everyone. So now that everyone is leaving, going to their own corners in the states, it feels a bit like High School graduation.

Over the last 10 days I’ve said good bye to 2/3 of my group.  It’s a little bittersweet but so cool to see the excitement on their faces (and a few tears) when they leave. On to the next adventure. But then after a while saying good bye gets a little old, I’m tired of being the one still here, saying good bye, holding down the fort. I’m ready for people to say good bye to me when I leave! 5 more days and that’ll be me with the excitement on my face!

Farewell Drinks

Farewell Drinks

The COS process with Peace Corps is a bitch. Tons of paperwork and exit interviews and language tests, and turning in of property. Then I have to close my house down, pack everything up, turn off my water and electricity. Then I have going away parties and dinners/drinks with friends. And on top of all that I have to wrap my head around leaving Fiji, this beautiful paradise country that I have called home for the last two years. Am I ready to never snorkel on Ono beach again? Never see another amazing sunset over Suva harbor? Never to sit in another grog circle listening to the guys play Fijian songs? Am I ready for that? I better be because I’ll never have it again, not like I do now.

So needless to say, these next 5 days with be jam packed with things to do and process and eat. I am up for it though; I’m ready to be the one getting on the plane!


  1. Good luck in everyhing Alicia. You will always have a home to visit in Los Angeles. It was so wonderful meeting you last year (just about 1 year to the day, when we visited Dan in Fiji). You will do fine. Keep posting, please, as this has become our go-to reading, along with the newspaper and weather forecast.
    Marcia Arnold for Dan Arnold’s family.

  2. I’m so excited for you and to see what this next chapter in your life brings!! I have really loved following your journeys through your blog and I hope you keep writing as you continue to travel! Love love!

    • Isa mallory! Thanks for keeping tabs on me! Looking forward to coming home after a few ,months of travel! We will need to get together! I am no longer on facebook, so I will contact you over email when I get home. =) much love!

  3. Alicia, you’ve done what most of us only dream of! It has been awesome reading your posts these past 2 years. You have a wonderful command of the English language and created quite an on-going history of events and emotions for us to share. You would be a great correspondant.. Given your ability to make even a mundane day sound interesting and lively! Enjoy your trip (tour) home and keep us posted! Hugs. Uncle Herbert n Aunt LouAnn…. Will miss your postings! 🙂

  4. Isa friend. Fiji wont be the same without you. Your house in suva was always an awesome place to be and I know that I’m going to miss you terribly when you’re gone!!! Good luck with your next adventure 🙂

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